Thursday, February 29, 2024

Lynas to track locals' health records for rare earth plant

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Kuala Lumpur: Amid fears that a rare earths plant could cause radiation-linked diseases among locals, Malaysian authorities have asked Australian mining firm Lynas to compile the medical history of residents to compare it with their state of health after the facility becomes operational. Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Licensing Board director- general Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan said the medical records would serve as a baseline data for Lynas Corp before operations began.

Lynas Corp has to compile the medical history of residents living near the Gebeng industrial area in order to compare this with their state of health once the rare earth facility started operations there, he said.

“It will be used later to compare and assess the plant’s impact on people living in nearby areas,” he said. Lynas is setting up a rare earths plant in central Pahang state.

The project had come for some criticism after fears there could be radiation affects on the people in the area.

A nine member IAEA team visited the site and was largely satisfied with the arrangements but also proposed some measures to be implemented before Lynas could go on to the next stage of construction of the facility. “We will see if there is any increase in the number of people with radiation-linked diseases or cancer,” Raja Abdul said after a briefing on the project to state government officers and staff here recently. He said the board had also stationed two officers at the plant’s construction site to check on the facility and conduct tests on radioactive levels, which would later be used as a reference point to detect any increase or reduction. (PTI)

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